Forwards/Afterwards is a design-research project that aims to better understand the Wards of Savannah by projecting new possibilities for both the city and others like it. Starting with a thorough historical analysis of the origins of the ward as a unit whose planar organization and latent hierarchies are based on an 18th century social structure, the research revealed a later pattern of development that exists today as a disconnected, and highly idiosyncratic urban fabric whose form no longer follows the standardized principles upon which it was founded. The Wards of Savannah have evolved to each represent their own version of the city.
Within Savannah’s current condition, four wards, each identified by their squares as Columbia Square, Wright Square, Calhoun Square, and Orleans Square, were chosen based on analyses of program, age, shape, open space, and FAR as being most representative of Savannah’s diverse urban condition. The project then uses these wards as case studies to understand the limits of the canonical ward in order to uncover new potentials for multi-scalar design. These potentials are organized into new projections on the selected wards as Forwards: schemes that respect the main axes and tenets of the ward structure while selectively fragmenting or agglomerating lots, and Afterwards: schemes that disrupt the ward’s axes, symmetry, and hierarchies. While each scheme is capable of standing on its own, the possibility for them to aggregate or proliferate across the scale of the city demonstrates the transformative potential of reconsidered urban design within the context of Savannah.
Urban Design, Architecture